Erratic Weather Exacerbates Food Insecurity In Indonesia's Eastern Province

“Erratic weather has exacerbated food insecurity in one of Indonesia’s driest regions,” including the districts of West Timor (TTS), Nusa Tengarra Timor (NTT), and North Central Timor (TTU), “leaving farmers and families hoping for the best as October’s planting season approaches,” IRIN reports. “The availability of food is a constant issue in … the mostly undeveloped eastern province where an estimated 30 percent live below the poverty line on an average income of US$280 a year” and “[m]ore than half of all children younger than five are underweight and stunted, according to the Nutrition Security and Food Security report [.pdf] on NTT in 2010,” the news service writes.

“According to the U.N. World Food Programme (WFP), ongoing deforestation, a leading cause of flooding, is largely to blame for the rainfall fluctuation” in the region, IRIN notes. The news service adds that a “lack of access to and availability of food, cornerstones of how food security is determined, have prompted organizations such as Oxfam to brand NTT a top priority for disaster preparedness projects, bracing the communities for weather fluctuations and crop failure by establishing irrigation systems and alternative means of income” (8/29).